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Captain Toad DLC or I’m canceling my ‘Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’ pre-order

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As I waited in line as one of the first people to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at E3 back in June, I felt a plethora of emotions wafting over me. The sights and sounds had created a warm buzz throughout my body, and I just couldn’t help but be in total awe of the larger than life screens right up above me, showing live streams of the lucky bastards who already had their hands on a Game Cube controller up at the front.

I was excited. Nervous. Determined.

But every so often I’d feel a sadness gnawing at the pit of my stomach. It would take me out of the moment, and instead, I’d be transported to earlier that day, when my boyfriend and I were watching the Nintendo Direct in yet another line at E3.

Revealed Ultimate fighters flashed on everyone’s phone screens, the epic theme music getting the long line of people hyped. And each time I unknowingly held my breath. Waiting… Hoping…

As most Smash fans know by now, almost all of the announced contenders are just returning fighters. Ultimate has basically made “Everyone is here” its unofficial tagline, and it should probably just be copyrighted by Nintendo at this point.

Most people have made Masahiro Sakurai’s giddy announcement into a heartbreaking meme depicting Waluigi being left behind by all his peers. But these heavily contrived Waluigi sad posts leave the real victim of this roster reveals in the shadows. Someone who was truly part of Mario’s world from nearly the beginning. Someone who has never been given their proper time to shine.

Toad.

E3 2018Images of Captain Toad flash in my mind as I step onto the stage, selecting Kirby as my fighter from the limited competitive roster. And while I’m fleetingly excited by the epic action underway, I can’t help but feel a sense of betrayal for seemingly accepting this new roster, playing the game as if a huge injustice had not taken place. So now I will fight for Toad. I will fight for what is right. And I will continue to fight until Captain Toad is announced as DLC for Super Smash Bro’s Ultimate.*

*To be fair I’ll play purchase the game and play it religiously each day if Captain Toad is not announced as DLC, but I will make sure to complain about it every chance I get, and I will make a custom Mii fighter that looks like Toad as a stand-in, as I did with Smash 4. Just wanted to clear that up going forward.

An unsung hero

Despite being Peach’s loyal subject since 1985, Toad was never given the spotlight he deserves until Captain Toad came out in 2014, the first game to feature Toad as the titular character. That’s almost 30 years of being depicted in a mostly negative fashion throughout his time as a Mario sidekick, reduced to cowering in the shadows, pointing to the next castle with a shaky finger.

Captain Toad

When I played Paper Mario: Color Splash last year I distinctly remember a Toad quivering in the shadows in one level, afraid of a shadow of Bowser. His fear had basically immobilized him, frozen from terror at what may be lurking behind the corner in the dark stage. As Mario, it was part of our mission to turn on the lights in that section of the map, shedding light on the origin of the shadow: A cardboard cutout of Bowser.

Of course, Color Splash was, at its core, a light-hearted and hilarious tale, with a seemingly endless supply of Toad scenes that had me laughing out loud. The Toad crew were voraciously sarcastic, with a hunger for one-liners, and a sense of determination that – while depicted as mostly clueless – was quite inspiring. Alas, the Toads, despite their appetite for outlandish accomplishments, were not only halted by their loopiness, but how easily they were frightened. Like Peach, Toad had to often wait for Mario to rescue him, often paralyzed by fear.

Being scared is a common theme for Toad. Despite being the leader of the Toad Brigade back in a previous title, Super Mario Galaxy, Captain Toad is always chickening out of missions at the first sight of trouble. While his excuses are comical, it’s clear that this is going to be an ongoing theme for him.

I don’t think Toad deserves to always be the butt of the joke, a whimpering simpleton who needs constant rescuing. He’s a faithful companion who is always there for Mario’s white knight adventures, acting as a guide, a hint-filled local, or even a star gatherer. He is even Peach’s punching bag in the Smash Bros series, taking the hit for her as her counterattack. The extent of his Smash Bros appearances.

To me, this is not only an injustice to Toad because of his unwavering loyalty to the Mushroom Kingdom and Mario, but because someone with Toad’s abilities and strength would never fear Bowser’s mindless minions.

A formidable fighter

Toad’s a likeable guy. But that would never be reason enough to include him in Smash, and I understand that. I’m not here to argue that Toad deserves a coveted spot in Smash because he is nice. The real argument here is that Toad is actually a very capable fighter with a lot of abilities that are often overlooked for the sake of comedy. Or to make Mario look good.

While I mentioned earlier that Captain Toad was Toad’s first time being a titular character, it actually wasn’t Toad’s first time being a video game protagonist. The often-forgotten Wario’s Woods is a 1994 falling block puzzle game that stars Toad as the sole savior, a peace-bringer who defeats Wario from taking over the woods.

And more importantly, it showcases a variety of abilities that Toad could bring to Ultimate.

People’s main counter-argument to Captain Toad joining Smash (yes, there are sickos who want to shun Toad from the game) is that Captain Toad is not a viable character because he can’t jump. While a less cultured person could argue that Captain Toad could just be a heavy fighter (a valid statement on its own), me, a cultured Toad fan, might argue that you don’t even know the first thing about Toad. Because he is simply a god. And jumping is below him.

Did you know that in Wario’s Woods Toad can RUN UP WALLS? So Toad can stick to walls like Greninja, but he can take it a step further and climb up them. Let’s just have him tie a rope to his pick-axe, throw it at a wall, and then have him climb up from wherever it sinks in. Is propelling himself through the air like Tarzan and then racing up the walls not enough of a counter for you yet?

Then have Toad put on a cat or helicopter suit, like he did in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. He can whip the helicopter helmet out of his backpack and instantly have as much air as Jigglypuff.

So many Captain Toad haters may also point out that Toad is weak. But all they have to do is a little bit of research and they’d find out that Toad was once described as “the strongest and fastest character” in Super Mario Bros 2. In Wario’s Woods, Toad is often depicted tossing enemies with ease. It’s strange that Toad is often seen shaking in the corner when we all know the brute strength that lies dormant within him.

Wario Woods

And in every Super Smash Bros title, we see Peach whip out her Toad as self-defense. And he counters attacks by emitting toxic gas. So if Smash is canon, which it most definitely is in an argument for Ultimate DLC, Toad can poison people, on top of climbing walls and chucking opponents.

At this point, you may be thinking, “Jesus Christ, is there anything Toad can’t do? My God.”

No.

Because Toad is also incredibly fast. We’re talking Sonic level fast. Bayo fast. Even Fox-level shit here. Top tier fighters in Smash are usually the quickest characters with the fastest recovery times, and Toad would be no exception.

In the Mario Kart series, Toad is described as a “speed demon.” In Mario Party 7, Toad’s special item is a golden mushroom that lets him move more spaces than everyone else. Then there’s Mario 3D World, where Toad’s advantage is how fast he can run. To put it simply, Toad. Is. Fast. It’s what he’s most known for in every Mario party game.

Just do it already

It’s almost common sense at this point to have Captain Toad confirmed as DLC in Ultimate. There’s no reason not to include Toad in Super Smash Bros and if he’s not announced in the Nintendo Direct on August 8 the game should just be canceled.*

*Please don’t cancel the game

I love playing video games and watching esports, and I love writing about them. I’m a professional writer, journalist, editor and social media manager and a very-not-professional Yoshi voice actor. I probably eat sushi about five times a week and I travel about once every other month to play at various Pokemon TCG regionals all around North America. Undefeated at Mario Kart Double Dash.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Jorge

    August 11, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    he estado esperando desde el brawl que haga por fin su aparición en el smash (como luchador), tengo algo de esperanza porque por fin hay un videojuego donde él es el protagonista, hay un excelente video donde muestra los movimientos que podría tener captain toad en el ultimate (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqk0vlKgu2c&t=132s) esta muy bueno, se lo merece, tiene historia y carisma.

    • Olivia Richman

      August 11, 2018 at 2:06 pm

      i love that video! there are so many possibilities! captain toad starring in his own game has also given me hope that he will finally be a fighter!

      me encanta ese video! ¡Hay muchas posibilidades! capitán sapo protagonista de su propio juego también me ha dado la esperanza de que finalmente será un luchador!

      • Riiyu

        December 13, 2018 at 2:44 pm

        I think overall that smash lacks some potential great characters, yet there are characters that take up a char slot that might as well have been a costume.

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‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Trailer: A Shot-by-Shot Analysis

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It seems like superheroes are out in full force at the moment, as just a week after the Black Widow trailer was released, we have a new trailer for the upcoming Wonder Woman sequel, titledWonder Woman 1984. Let’s break this one down to see what we can uncover…

Warning:I’m going to be going through some theories that could be quite spoilerish if they turn out to be accurate, so keep that in mind before reading.

Memories

The Wonder Woman 1984 trailer starts off as we hear Diana (Gal Gadot) saying that her life hasn’t been what is probably expected since we’ve seen her last. We see that a picture of her taken at a place named “Trevor Ranch” — could this be where the family of her love interest, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), resided, or was it named after him following his heroic sacrifice from the first film? We also see that she still has Steve’s watch, which is clearly an important token for her to remember him by. A remix of “Blue Monday” by New Order is used throughout the trailer. Good luck getting it out of your head.

Barbara Minerva

Diana is next shown talking to a character called Barbara Ann Minerva (Kristen Wiig). Minerva is important, as she is far more than just a random friend. In the comics, she is one of the women who takes the mantle of Cheetah, a super villainess and one of Wonder Woman’s arch rivals. Barbara Minerva is an archaeologist who in the comics ends up undergoing a dangerous ritual in a bid to win immortality. This leads her to becoming imbued with the powers of a cheetah, and she becomes a surprisingly worthy foe for Diana.

Neon Lights

Just a quick shot out to these awesome 80s style logos. Very cool and reminiscent of the Christopher Reeve Superman movies.

Maxwell Lord

Next, we hear the voice of another important figure: Maxwell Lord (Pedro Pascal). Lord is a business man, and he seems to be taking on the role of villain here, which he has done in the comics before. Projecting a sleazy, self-help business man image, Maxwell states, “Welcome to the future. Life is good, but it can be better, and why shouldn’t it be? All you need is to want it.” We see him pop up on multiple television screens as he gives this spiel before offering an obligatory cheesy grin.

When he was first introduced in the comics he was a normal human, but later Maxwell has telepathic powers that allow him to influence the minds of those around him. It would seem apt to have someone with those abilities act as a television salesman, so it is possible that this could come into fruition in the film. It could also be an explanation for another big plot point, but more on that later.

Tiara Time

As Maxwell gives this speech, we see Diana in a shopping mall that seems to be under attack by thugs. We see her awesomely crush the bad guys guns before whipping off her tiara and throwing it batarang style at the mall security cameras.

I think her reason for doing this might be to keep her identity secret. In the present day, she is still (somehow) operating undercover (as shown in Batman vs Superman), so it would make sense for her to try and erase any captured footage of her — which would be much easier in the 1980s.

Everything You’ve Always Wanted

Maxwell continues to narrate, “Think about having everything you’ve always wanted” as we see Diana looking up at a plane in the sky. Following the events of Wonder Woman, wherein Steve sacrificed himself and ended up dying in a fiery plane explosion, she is likely thinking of him here. Lord’s narration also suggests this, as Trevor was clearly the love of her life.

We also see Barbara Minerva here, leaving us to wonder what it is that she has always wanted. In the comics, she is a selfish character with high ambitions, which is what leads her to obtain the Cheetah powers.

Steve Trevor

Trevor’s words from the first film echo, “I can save today. But you can save the world.” We then see him personally giving his watch to Diana (as he did before his sacrifice) before he seems to appear for real and they embrace.

It seems pretty much impossible for Steve to be alive — never mind being alive and looking the same way he did during the war — but it is possible that if Lord does indeed have strong mental powers, he could be making Diana imagine him to distract or torment her. That is just a theory of course for now; it is a comic book movie, so time travel and alternate dimensions are always possible.

Big Dish You Got There

A small shot of a very large satellite dish is shown briefly. Whilst it is impossible to tell what it could be related to, I wonder as to whether it could be Lord’s way of broadcasting out his powers to control people on a much larger scale.

Shiny Rock

Maxwell Lord holds rather intense eye contact with a mystical looking stone in the next scene. It may be that Lord doesn’t have powers at first and then gains them via this artefact? If Barbara Minerva is an archaeologist in the movie — like in the comics — it could be that she obtained this for him and they are working together. Lord also narrates “Now, I take what I want in return” as he holds it. Big bad guy vibes coming from him.

Yas Queen

Some cool fight shots of Diana in her Wonder Woman attire come next. The standout is a particularly awesome slow motion moment where she deflects a bullet with her gauntlets. She looks to be inside the White House fighting off guards here, and it is interesting to note how vibrant the colours in her costume look. The saturation looks as though it has been turned up to eleven to emphasise the colourful nature of the 80s.

Cheetah-fied

The next shot shows Barbara looking a lot more glamourous, and it is possible that her transformation into Cheetah has begun. Patty Jenkins suggests that Cheetah’s look will be part practical makeup and part CGI, but we don’t get a look at it in this particular trailer.

Fireworks

Steve and Diana take a ride in a plane in the next shot as fireworks explode above them. This could be a look from inside the invisible jet, which is rumoured to make an appearance.

Foreign Conflict

Wonder Woman and Steve look to be involved in some kind of foreign conflict, as we them looking over an unknown city as a large wall explodes. Is this an important mission for the story?

Lasso Skills

Diana seems to be even more proficient with her lasso, as she pulls off a few new tricks with it in the trailer, including this spinning whip move on a guard from that White House scene. We also see Steve punch a guy…so is he real after all???

A moment after that, we see Diana running down the street before lassoing something in the air and being propelled forward. This may well be another nod to the invisible jet, or it could just be something that has yet to be added to the scene.

Amazon Ninja Warrior

A few Themiscyra shots are shown next, as we see some horses and riders gallop down a beach. We then get this weird obstacle course thing, and see some of the Amazonians flying through it with ease. Give those ladies a medal.

Definitely Evil

Lord is then shown in a chamber with an eerie blue glow next; again, this could be something to do with his powers. Perhaps he is amplifying them or gaining them in this moment.

Kick Em Where it Hurts

More fight scenes in the White House next, as Diana manages to look fabulous whilst kicking a guard in the stomach. She then does some flippy stuff while using her lasso. She is so awesome.

Do a Superhero Landing

The next shot looks like it is back in foreign territory. As a cargo truck flips, Diana leaps from it. A CGI-heavy moment, but it still looks like this will be an exciting action sequence in the film. We also see Steve punching people again, leading to even more questions. Diana has some interesting narration here: “Nothing good is born from lies, and greatness is not what you think.”

Lightning Lassoing

In the coolest shot in the whole trailer, Diana uses her lasso to swing on the lightning in the sky. Her goddess nature is really emphasised here, and I cannot wait to see this on the big screen. Take that, Thor.

Golden Girl

One of the final shots is of Diana in her full golden eagle armour from the comics. She is likely to need to something more significant if she is going up against Cheetah. Cheetah is a vicious and violent character whose scratches and bites are as powerful as an actual cheetah and then some, so it would make sense for Diana to go full body suit.

Trash

The last shot shows a bit of role reversal from the first film, with Diana having to show Steve around and get him accustomed to a new world. Again, this adds further questions to his existence. Diana shows him around, explaining that everything can be art. He then seems transfixed by a trash can, but it is just a trash can. The memes have already started with this moment, but I just wanted to take a second to appreciate Steve’s fanny pack (or bum bag as we Brits call it). Diana’s outfit is also a nice shout-out to Lynda Carter’s from the old Wonder Woman television show.

Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is looking like a decent sequel so far. The theme of surveillance is sure to be utilised, as suggested by Diana destroying the surveillance cameras and the possibility of Maxwell Lord’s powers taking advantage of surveillance tools to reach a larger audience (not to mention the not so subtle nod to George Orwell’s 1984 novel). This could be an interesting theme for this day and age, where technology and surveillance are more prevalent than ever. There are big questions to be answered in Wonder Woman 1984, and I’m looking forward to finding out the answers to them.

Wonder Woman 1984 will be released on June 5th, 2020. Check out the new character posters below.

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The Asus GX701 Gaming Laptop Competes with the Most High-End Desktops

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Asus GX701 image

As the gaming industry soars to new heights with more powerful technology—and manufacturers such as Asus, Razer, and Alienware—that brings the most beloved, pixelated characters to life on screens of various sizes, gamers often find themselves torn between what kind of hardware to utilize to get the most out of their gameplay.

Naturally, an individual’s desires and expectations vary from person to person, but for those who are consistently on the lookout for the best hardware on which to play their games on max settings with little to no frame drop, options tend to be far more limited—and expensive. Those limitations tend to be further strenuous for those PC enthusiasts who would also like to play their favorite games on the road.

Enter the gaming laptop, where manufacturers attempt to take some of the most powerful hardware and condense it into a mobile framework for those consumers with the budget and drive to use them. While historically it has been difficult for gaming laptops to even come close to competing with high-end desktops—something that is still up for debate among the tech community—the technological landscape has evolved to the point that manufacturers are on their way to narrowing the gap between laptop and desktop.

When investing in any piece of technology, however, there are various obstacles of which consumers should be aware while researching what hardware (or pre-built machines like a gaming laptop) do the best job of overcoming those hurdles. Everything from ventilation to CPU clocking and general performance based on the games in which one is interested must be taken into consideration.

In the search for finding a machine that can play the most graphically intense games on max settings without sacrificing frame rate, Goomba Stomp decided to put the ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX701 to the test.

Hardware Specifications

Before delving into how the Asus GX701’s hardware performs, it’s important to note the laptop’s hardware specifications.

The CPU is the i7-9750H Six Core Processor that clocks between 2.6GHz and 4.5GHz. Next is the graphics card (GPU)—the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB GDDR6 with Max-Q Design (which basically means it’s a watered down version of the standard RTX 2080 GPU due to its smaller size to fit in the laptop, sacrificing a small amount of power). Couple the CPU and GPU with the 32GB of RAM and the 1TB NVMe SSD, and the Asus GX701 is a mighty powerhouse on paper.

Hardware Performance — CPU

i7-9750H Six-Core Processor (CPU)

Functioning as the laptop’s brain, the i7-9750H Six Core Processor decodes the actions it’s instructed by the RAM to process. Even operating towards its base end of 2.6GHz, the Asus GX701’s CPU rapidly produces the output users command it to execute, resulting in swift completions that turn into web pages, game activation, reduced loading times, and more.

With a max operating temperature of 100 degrees Celsius, gamers can rest assured this CPU will give them a decent amount of wiggle room when it comes to putting the laptop under heavy loads. For titles that are CPU-intensive, however, such as Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, Black Desert Online, and the Total War franchise (where thousands of soldiers and other objects must exist on the battlefield), it should be noted that the i7-9750H does get hot to the touch above the keyboard.

When its heat rises (often above 90 degrees Celsius when under a load), the fan kicks up to compete with the high temperature, often becoming loud. While the noise is both obnoxious and disconcerting at first, one becomes used to it after extensive use; though, the nagging sensation at the back of one’s mind can be enough to leave one paranoid that the machine is going to overheat and shut down. Despite this paranoia, the Asus GX701 never shut itself off during any of Goomba Stomp’s gaming sessions and continued exhibiting rapid outputs when receiving input commands while performing several tasks at once.

Hardware Performance — GPU

RTX 2080 Graphics Card (GPU)

The RTX 2080 is one of various state-of-the-art graphics cards available to gamers. Released in September 2018, this 8GB GPU is just one step behind the RTX 2080TI. To put this card to the test, Goomba Stomp cranks Black Desert Online up to max settings, with its vibrant colors and overwhelming amount of assets (including other players in the game) and without losing any frame rate in the process. Doing so produces vivid images that are crystal clear at the maximum range available in Black Desert’s world. Everything looks real, and frame rate never drops below 60 frames per second (FPS), allowing for beautiful aesthetics and smooth gameplay.

Moreover, using Total War: THREE KINGDOMS and Total War: WARHAMMER II as the examples in which Goomba Stomp employs max settings in a strategy title and the “Extreme” setting for unit size (number of soldiers in each individual unit in an army), the frame rate does not drop. The i7-9750H works hard, heating up to 90-95C, but does not overheat or experience any catastrophic failures that result in the game crashing (even with the maximum amount of units allowed on the battlefield at once).

While playing these two titles does cause the i7-9750H to pick up the pace, resulting in temperatures that made the area above the laptop’s keyboard almost too hot to touch, the GPU has no problems rendering images while working in conjunction with the CPU to maintain high FPS. Indeed, for the likes of Total War, the RTX 2080, even with Max-Q Design, is overkill.

Ventilation

Gaming laptop photo (GX701)
Gaming laptop (Asus GX701) Vents

Something that all gaming hardware requires is proper ventilation, allowing devices to suck in cool air and blow out hot. To that end, a machine’s architecture must allow for vents that permit efficient intake and exhaust. Historically, gaming laptops have lagged in this regard, often relying more on decent thermal paste and powerful fans in lieu of sufficient vents.

To remedy this shortcoming, the Asus GX701 has four vents—one on each side and two on the back. When the laptop is under a heavy load, one can feel hot air being expunged from the system through these vents. Despite the amount of hot air that gets blown out of the system, the CPU still manages to get hot to the touch.

However, as mentioned above, since the laptop has not shut itself off to protect itself and the games played have yet to falter, these vents appear to be enough (when working in conjunction with the fan and thermal paste) to keep the machine within normal operating temperatures.

Software – MyAsus

MyAsus is a program that allows users to receive product information, as well as notifications that certain apps, drivers, or features have an update available. If the software detects any available updates, it will automatically notify users and prompt them to either download and install the update or postpone it for a certain amount of time (10 minutes, one hour, or four hours).

While this app seems useful on paper, its execution is a travesty at best. When receiving a notification regarding updates and choosing the option to “update now,” Goomba Stomp experienced a frustrating issue in which MyAsus drifted into a perpetual cycle of trying to begin the update process—the swirling icon next to each update indicating the system was processing the information never went away, and the updates never proceeded to be downloaded or installed.

Anytime Goomba Stomp opted to “postpone” the update for an hour or more, MyAsus pretended to not receive that command and would send another reminder 10 minutes later that updates were found. Therefore, the most useful facet of MyAsus was the ability to uninstall it and clear up a negligible amount of space in the Asus GX701’s memory (thus relegating it to the past tense). Despite MyAsus being a preinstalled program, it was removable and ceased to be annoying once discarded and virtually burned, never to plague Goomba Stomp’s gaming laptop again.

Miscellaneous Features

The most prominent miscellaneous feature is the ROG (Republic of Gamers) Armoury Crate application. This program allows users to adjust the keyboard’s colors and color animation settings, giving those with an interest in the laptop’s aesthetics the power to choose what look suits them best. From a static color pattern to a reactive mode in which keys don’t light up unless pressed, the RGB (red, green, blue) system provides several minutes of entertainment all by itself, until one figures out which pattern(s) they wish to use.

Moreover, Armoury Crate serves as a hub for ROG fans to browse online deals for video games (a store), a logistical manipulator that allows users to observe their apps and free up memory space at will, and a hardware monitor for users to track their fans’ RPMs as well as CPU and GPU stats (temperature, voltage, etc.).

Overall Impression

For those with the budget and desire to possess a high-end gaming laptop that travels well and can compete with some of the most powerful desktops on the market, the Asus GX701 is a prodigious choice. With hardware that rivals almost any modern gaming rig, any game one plays will be a smooth, gorgeous experience.

However, bear in mind that the CPU does run hot, often idling between 50-60 degrees Celsius and heating up to 85-95 Celsius when under a load. Nevertheless, the ventilation, fan, and thermal paste work well together to prevent the laptop from overheating so users may continue enjoying their virtual worlds. Moreover, to assist with remedying the paranoia that abounds in one’s mind when dealing with the hot CPU, Goomba Stomp also invested in a cooling pad, which helps keep the CPU five-to-ten degrees cooler while under load.

Considering the horrendous perversion that is MyAsus being a troublesome and irrelevant preinstalled software is the only real drawback Goomba Stomp experienced, it’s safe to say the GX701 is a phenomenal machine, despite its burdensome cost and large size.

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‘Black Widow’ Teaser Trailer: A Shot By Shot Analysis

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After years of speculation, we finally got official confirmation of a Black Widow movie from Marvel Studios at the San Diego Comic Con during the summer this year. This was a big deal for fans of the first female Avenger; as a woman who has been a fan of Marvel movies since first seeing Iron Man in 2008, I personally think that this has been a long time coming. Black Widow will hopefully be as influential as Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman when it comes to female-led superhero movies (that are actually good). And we now have a Black Widow teaser trailer to break down, so let’s take a look.

Spoiler warning for a key plot point in Avengers: Endgame.

Just like in Budapest

The opening shot is of Budapest, the capital of Hungary, which holds significant meaning to Natasha Romanoff a.k.a Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). In the first Avengers film, whilst fighting against the Chitauri, she quips to Clint Barton a.k.a Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) that the situation is “just like Budapest all over again.” Hawkeye retorts with “you and I remember Budapest very differently.” It was probably intended as a throwaway line, but fans became curious as to what exactly did go down in this mission. It is mentioned again in Avengers: Endgame, so it is clearly an important mission where something big happened. This opening shot may well be a flashback to this moment, or it could be that Natasha finds herself back in Budapest once again during the movie.

Flashbacks

The Black Widow teaser then has Natasha reflecting on her past, saying that she used to have nothing, as the Red Room ballerina flashbacks from Avengers: Age of Ultron are shown. The Red Room is where we see the girls dancing; it’s a Soviet training facility where Natasha was groomed to become a spy and killer. The premise of the movie is vague at the moment, but the theme of facing the past is prevalent. I would not be surprised if Natasha returns to the Red Room in the film.

Superhero Family

More flashbacks are seen of the original Avengers film, as Natasha narrates that having nothing changed when she got the job as an Avenger and gained a family. We see Clint and Nick Fury, two of the most important people in Natasha’s life, as well as a small flashback from Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It is clear that Natasha’s feelings towards her fellow Avengers changed significantly the longer she was with them. They were her family, something she had never had before. As a character who was originally portrayed as manipulative and cold, it is encouraging to see her given more depth and made to feel more human.

Nothing Lasts

Black Widow teaser

Natasha goes all stereotypical brooding protagonist as she looks in the mirror and narrates that “nothing lasts forever.” The film is said to be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War and deals with the fallout of the Avengers becoming fractured; Natasha is clearly affected by the split in the family dynamic.

Black and Red

Not really much of an analysis here but this is a super cool variation of the Marvel Studios logo made to look like the Black Widow symbol. Awesome. Moving on.

On the Run

Black widow teaser Scarlett

A voice (it sounds like General Ross to me, but I’m not sure) says that he heard that Natasha had to leave in a hurry. She responds with, “it’s never easy these days,” and we see Natasha navigating her way through a crowded train station. Following the events of Civil War, she is likely to be on the run after helping Captain America with his plans. She is pretty much a fugitive at this point.

Young Ross

After a convoy of armoured cars is shown, we then see General Thaddeus Ross looking a lot younger then we have seen him before via de-aging technology. This is likely to be a flashback of some kind to long before any of the Avengers came to light, as we don’t even see him looking this young in his first appearance in The Incredible Hulk.

Yelena Belova

Black Widow teaser Yelena

After Natasha says that she is done running from her past, we see her stalking through the corridors of an apartment when she comes face to face with Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh). Belova is a character from the comics, as well as a fellow Black Widow who was trained in the same Red Room as Natasha.

The two have a brief scuffle here. Whilst it looks like they are enemies at first, it becomes clear that they seem to be practising their sparring skills, or at least fighting one another with no intention of using lethal force. Natasha refers to Yelena as “sis;” their time in the Red Room must have brought them closer together, close enough to consider one another family. In the comics, Yelena is the one to take on the mantle of the Black Widow after Natasha’s death. Knowing what we do after Endgame, it is possible that Belova could be set up as a possible successor.

New Look

Natasha is next shown looking awesome in a new outfit. Her suit certainly seems more armoured than the usual attire, and amoured suits are always an improvement from the skimpy cat suits that a lot of lady heroes have to wear. I’m also living for those warrior braids she’s got going on.

Rooftop Run

A glimpse at an action-packed rooftop chase shows Natasha chasing someone off screen before leaping to what looks like a tall chimney pot. She isn’t alone either…

It looks as though Yelena is clinging to the chimney as well, while Natasha holds onto someone unknown. Could this be a friend or foe? It looks a little bit like another fellow Black Widow named Melina (more on her later).

Operations Base

The next shot in the Black Widow teaser shows two silhouetted figures — one looks like it could be Natasha — in a dark room with screens showing red dots. It looks like it could be depicting locations across the world, or possibly even tracking agents. This may be the base of operations for the Soviet facility where Natasha and her fellow Widows were trained. This is also suggested by Natasha’s narration, as she says that she has to return to where it all started, heavily implying this could be related to the Red Room. This is a very vague shot, so it is interesting to wonder what exactly this scene could be.

White Widow

We get another new look for Natasha, as she does a superhero landing down from a helicopter in a white outfit, obviously intended to camouflage her in the snow-laden military base she finds herself in. This outfit is similar to one that she wore in the comic series Black Widow: Deadly Origin. Deadly Origin explores her past as an assassin, so it is likely that there will be more inspiration taken from the comic.

Taskmaster

Black Widow teaser Taskmaster

The Black Widow teaser next offers a glimpse of super-villain Taskmaster, as he readies his bow in a scene that looks like he is ambushing the Widows. Taskmaster is a well known villain in the Marvel universe, but his identity in the cinematic universe is yet to be confirmed. There are already some fan theories floating around as to who is underneath the mask.

Melina

We next see Melina (Rachel Weisz), the Black Widow mentioned earlier. She is a seasoned assassin, and also part of the Widow family.

Alexei Shostakov

This is followed by a shot of Alexei Shostakov (David Harbour), otherwise known in Marvel comics by his hero guise Red Guardian. In the comics, Alexei is the second person to take up the mantle of the Red Guardian, who is basically the Russian version of Captain America. Natasha and Alexei were actually once married in the comics, but it is unclear as to whether the two will have a romantic connection in the film, as a character named Rick Mason (O-T Fagbenle) is said to have a romantic interest in Natasha.

Red Guardian

Black Widow teaser Red Guardian

Natasha narrates that this will be a hell of a reunion, as we see Alexei donning his Red Guardian outfit and proudly announcing that it “still fits.”

Family Dinner

The Black Widow family sits down for a spot of dinner around a table in the next shot. Alexei says “Family, back together again” as Yelena rolls her eyes, Melina mocks Alexei for putting on weight, and Natasha does her best to console him with a somewhat disingenuous smile. You know, typical family stuff. This group are clearly close (or were close at some point), but I can’t help but feel that someone around the table may not be entirely what they seem. That’s a gut feeling on my part, though.

Natasha has always had trust issues, but she may have loosened up a bit following her time with the Avengers. It would make sense to challenge her character development by having someone close betray her. Again, though, that is just speculation at this point. Also, does anyone else find it weird that these people probably spent a LOT of time in Russia together, and Natasha is the only one without a thick Russian accent? No? Just me? Let’s move on then.

Fight Club

The Black Widow teaser trailer continues with a quick shot of Alexei in his Red Guardian outfit again, this time fighting with an unknown enemy. He still seems to have what it takes, as he brutally headbutts the bad guy.

Avalanche

A helicopter attempts to escape a massive avalanche at some kind of military base. It is possible that this where the Red Room is located, and the film may focus on the Widows teaming up alongside Red Guardian to bring down the facility once and for all. Hopefully, Taskmaster will have a role to play in this as well, and I really hope it is a good one. Marvel villains have a tendency to fall a bit flat outside a few exceptions (Thanos and Loki), and I hope Taskmaster doesn’t end up falling under the category of yet another underwhelming Marvel bad guy.

Freefall

Natasha leaps from a collapsing platform in the CG-heavy but super cool final shot of the trailer, as she manoeuvres herself around bits of falling debris while being shot at by falling bad guys. It’s empowering to see a badass female character in such an action-packed scene. I just hope she has a parachute.

Where It All Began

I love this little reference to Natasha’s debut in Iron Man 2 here in the title card ending the Black Widow teaser trailer. It makes you realise how far the character has come since she took out those guys in the corridor with such ease.

Black Widow

Black Widow will hopefully tie up any loose ends within Natasha’s narrative. The movie could be quite poignant, and maybe even a little emotional following her death in Avengers: Endgame. I think any fans of her character will agree that as long as the film does justice to her and is a fitting farewell, then we will be able to let her go and move on to the next generation of Marvel heroes. What I really do not want to see is some kind of resurrection for her. She died heroically in Endgame, and I feel that her legacy would be tainted if they were to suddenly revive her. This was only a teaser trailer, of course, so hopefully the full trailer will give us a little more context.

Black Widow will be released in May 1st, 2020. Check out the new poster below.

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